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Counter-terrorism cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood counterterrorism



Counter terrorism cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for countering terrorism.( 8 ) In practice, this has ranged from studies on the foreign fighter phenomenon to the strengthening of border forces in the Sahel zone or youth engagement projects in South Asia. Europe’s approach to counter-terrorism is very much in line with the UN’s one; in part, this has to do with the division of labour between the EU and its member states. Matters of law enforcement and military nature are by default member state area of responsibility. But in part, this wide-ranging approach is rooted in the European insight that terrorism is not a free-floating phenomenon but the result of specific causes – which however differ depending on the socio-economic context. In non-OECD countries, armed conflict, state sponsored violence, corruption and a weak business environment are strongly correlated with terrorism – this appears to be the environment most conducive to terrorism, as 92 per cent of all terrorist attacks over the last 25 years took place in countries where state sponsored political violence was well established and 88 per cent in countries that were undergoing violent conflicts. In OECD countries, socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, confidence in the press, belief in democracy, drug crime and attitudes towards immigration are the most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism. Factors which correlate with both types of countries are lower respect for human rights, policies targeting religious freedoms, group grievances, political instability and lower respect for the UN or the EU.( 9 ) European counter-terrorism cooperation with the Southern neighbourhood has focused on four areas: building state capacity, strengthening rule of law and respect for human rights, fostering regional cooperation, as well as preventing and combating terrorism. As most European projects directly or indirectly address conditions conducive to the development of terrorism – such as high levels of poverty and low levels of education - they are not at the centre of the analysis here. In 2015, the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) analysed EU funding for external activities aimed at preventing or countering terrorism and violent extremism. The study was based on data from all relevant EU services (i.e. DG DEVCO, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, DG Migration and Home Affairs, and DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations) and included actions that were on-going at the time or planned for immediate implementation. EU funding to counter-terrorism and preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE) at the end of 2015 amounted to approximately EUR 334 million and was predominantly focused on the Middle East and North Africa. This figure included both projects that explicitly aim to prevent or counter terrorism and violent extremism and activities that include counter-terrorism or P/CVE objectives. A second assessment in the end of 2016 revealed that the figure had increased to EUR 399 (a 20 per cent increase). Taking a closer look at the 2016 figures reveals that there is an increase of 62 per cent in projects that specifically focus on counter-terrorism, and, to a greater extent, on P/CVE( 10 ). While in 2015 the EU funded EUR 139 million to counter-terrorism or P/CVE-specific projects, this figure had had risen to EUR 224 million in 2016. The increase is however accompanied by a shift in geographical focus towards either global activities or projects focusing on regions other than the MENA region, in particular the Western Balkans, Turkey, and Asia. 8 United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, ‘Resolution: The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’, 8 September 2006. 9 Institute for Economics and Peace, ‘Global Terrorism Index 2015’, November 2015. 10 The increase in CVE funding in part reflects an amendment in early 2016 to the OECD DAC evaluation criteria, which rendered certain forms of CVE eligible for development assistance. 7

Policy Department, Directorate-General for External Policies 4 Building state capacity Enabling other states to cope with terrorism is part and parcel of measures countering the phenomenon: in resolution 1373 (2001), the UN Security Council called on member states to ‘afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts’. In resolution 1456, it stressed the assistance component further stating that ‘states should assist each other to improve their capacity to prevent and fight terrorism, and notes that such cooperation will help facilitate the full and timely implementation of resolution 1373...’. It went on that states should ‘assist each other, to the maximum extent possible, in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism, wherever they occur’ and ‘to improve their capacity to prevent and fight terrorism’, noting that ‘such cooperation will help facilitate the full and timely implementation of resolution 1373 (2001)’.( 11 ) Consequently, capacity building – particularly in the areas of border control, criminal investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases, and countering the financing of terrorism - is an integral part of European counter-terrorism cooperation with its Southern neighbours. 4.1 Border control Borders and their management play an important role in the fight against terrorism – particularly in the Southern Neighbourhood. UN resolution 1373 recognised this when it singled out border controls as the perhaps most important component of state capacity building in the fight against terrorism, calling on member states to ‘prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers’. Terrorist networks take advantage of the challenges of border management in the region not only to escape law enforcement authorities in their country of origin or operation, but also to procure themselves with weapons and other material, and to generate income through the smuggling of drugs and other illicit material. The prime example for this is Libya: following the fall of the Gaddafi regime, most of the country’s weapons arsenal was unsecured and consequently seized – either by militias using them inside the country, or by smugglers selling them to terrorist groups. 10-15 million light weapons arrived on Libya’s uncontrolled weapons market with a few years and have ended up now in at least 14 other countries. 12 Eastwards, these weapons transited through Egypt into the Gaza Strip, to Syrian rebels and Jihadi groups in the Sinai; westwards and south, they ended up in Mali as well as Algeria and Tunisia in the hands of terrorists. In late 2012, the Egyptian military seized at least 8,000 guns, several hundred rockets, and 400,000 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition. 13 The majority of smuggled weapons are machine guns, but, more worryingly, shoulder-fired recoilless weapons and rocket launchers have increased in the hands of non-state actors in the region. Guided light weapons such as man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs) are now in the hands of more than 20 non-state groups in the region – more than half of those are in Syria. IS, but also four other groups in Syria can now reach targets which are 6km away. MANPADS from Libya have also appeared in Lebanon, which itself has turned into an important nerve centre for regional weapons. 11 United Nations Security Council, ‘Resolution 1373 (2001)’, 28 September 2001. United Nations Security Council, ‘Resolution 1456 (2003)’, 20 January 2003. 12 United Nations Security Council, ‘Final report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) concerning Libya’, 19 February 2014. 13 Egypt Independent, ‘Authorities intercept weapons smuggling from Libya’, 21 November 2012 8

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